January 30, 2007 Toronto FC ready for training (from Canada Press)

Posted: Jan 30 2007, 06:48 PM

HL:Toronto's expansion Major League Soccer team ready to finally kick a ball
BY Neil Davidson=

TORONTO (CP) _ It's finally time for Toronto FC to kick a ball,
but the expansion MLS team is taking baby steps to start with.
Coach Mo Johnston and his work-in-progress side will meet
Thursday at the indoor Ontario Soccer Center near the airport to
begin the on-field work.
``It's exciting to see them all roll into town,'' Johnston said
The Toronto FC roster is still under construction, however, so
there is room to grow. Plus some players are sorting out visa
The club has to sort out the red tape for Togo forward Abdoulaye
Ibrahim and Brazilian midfielder Paulo Nagamura. Some visas that
have worked in the past in the U.S. need tweaking to get into
``It's been a little bit hectic, but we're fighting through it,''
Johnston said.
The first stage of the camp is basically a mixer.
``It's only a get-together, touch the ball a little bit, get
acquainted with each other,'' the Scottish coach said. ``Obviously
the harder work will start in Florida.''
The squad is scheduled to fly south to train in Sunrise, Fla.,
from Feb. 12 to 24. Then it's back to Toronto for training before
returning to Florida to practice in Bradenton from March 5 to 17.
Next is the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C., from March
21 to April 1.
Toronto will open the season April 7 in Carson, Calif., against
Chivas USA and then play April 14 in New England against the
Revolution before returning home to host the Kansas City Wizards on
April 28.

Johnston was quick to note that much can change during training
``A lot of people, they think they've made the team and really
sometimes it doesn't happen that way,'' he said. ``Because certain
guys can get traded in pre-season, certain guys want traded and
certain guys obviously you're looking at picking up.''
Johnston has been open and accessible so far as Toronto coach,
but is closing the camp to the media for the first four days.
``I'm not normally like that,'' he said.
But Johnston says the doors will be closed to start with because
he wants the team to bond without the distraction of cameras.
``There's a lot of media here. It's not like that in the U.S.,''
he said.
Plus he wants to try out some new talent, without alerting rival
The league has no rules on whether practices should be open or
closed, leaving it up to the individual teams.
MLS regular-season rosters can accommodate 18 players plus
another 10 developmental players, most of whom will come from the
Canadian under-20 ranks. Given the under-20 squad is preparing for
the world championships later this year, Johnston may not have
access them for much of training.
The 10 developmental players, usually youth internationals or
part of the Generation Adidas program, are essentially paid for by
the league.
So is his team where Johnston wants it to be?
``Not even close,'' he said. ``Could I take a team over and play?
Yes. But not even close (to finishing).''
Toronto FC still has dollars to spend. The search for talent
``Every day,'' he said. ``Every day. Our network's fairly
extensive at the moment.''
Notes: Forward Alecko Eskandarian and defender Marco Reda are
both suffering from slight injury knocks coming into camp. ...
Johnston says his recent trip to the Canadian national team camp in
Florida was worthwhile given it allowed him to speak to the Canadian
management about international call-ups. ``We have to be able to
work together,'' Johnston said. ``My door's open. But I can't have
two of my goalkeepers going to the national team and I don't have a

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